The industrial ladder is a concept that helps to explain how and why societies move from basic, primitive economic activities up to advanced and wealthy ones. History shows that all societies begin as agricultural societies with all able-bodied people involved in collecting and preparing food, whether this is by hunting and gathering or by growing crops and vegetables.
Read the full article here.
Economic history is a branch of history that focuses specifically on the ways in which economic activities have been organized within a particular territory over a specified period of time, together with the ways in which people have sought to make a living and the management of government finances, trade, investment and debt.
Read the full article here.
Announcing: Walsh, John, “Apparel Retailing in Thailand,” in Jaya Halpete, ed., Retailing in Emerging Markets (Fairchild Publishing, 2011), pp.299-345. This is now available at amazon and, no doubt, all good book shops globally.
Thailand is a middle income country located in the mainland of Southeast Asia with a per capita income of around US$8,100 per annum and an economy which is in the largest 30 in the world (Asia Development Bank, 2008). Its capital Bangkok has a population of around 6½ million urban residents and 12 million metropolitan residents from a national population of some 66 million and has the reputation for being the hottest capital city in the world (average maximum daily temperature of around degrees 32-33 Celsius). Standards of living are much lower outside Bangkok and there are sharp divisions between the cities and the countryside. Principal secondary cities include Khon Kaen (population 148,000), Chiang Mai (population 150,000) and Ubon Ratchathani (population 122,000) and, over the past decade, modern retailing driven by international investment has spread to these cities where before it had been limited to the capital city. The new chain supermarkets and shopping centres are proving very popular and, for many Thai people, new retail opportunities are provoking something of a revolution in daily life, ranging from frozen food (which facilitates single rather than family eating) to buying in bulk, as malls tend to be located outside of town or city centres and, hence, accessed primarily by car (Feeny et al., 1996). Increasingly, consumers prefer to obtain their shopping from a single location and retailers are responding to this by ensuring a wide range of goods and services is available in every space. Apparel retail is an important part of this process. As a central part of the manufacturing industry which has helped pull Thailand out of poverty, textiles and apparel occupy an important part of modern Thai history and continue to be a major strength of the economy. Apparel is an important part of Thailand’s crucially important export effort (it is one of the most open countries in the world in terms of international trade and therefore very vulnerable to changes in the international business environment) and accounted for 42% of the US$7.27 billion textile export market . Exports of apparel in particular are increasing as the quality of fashion items increases, partly thanks to government sponsored initiatives, while costs remain comparatively constant. With increasing competition in all fields from China in particular, Thai manufacturers are striving to add value to their products in all categories, through improving technology and design and increasing the unique qualities of ‘Thainess’ to make distinctive and often exotic items. These factors are clearly evident in the domestic retailing sector, where foreign and home-made items compete directly against each other in all but the most high-end sectors (where foreign brands dominate) and the low-end sectors, which are dominated by locally made products or imports from neighbouring countries (Jitpleecheep, 2009a).
‘Cowboy capitalism’ is a term given to the kind of capitalist system that takes place outside the control and supervision of the state. Without such control, there is no enforcement of property rights, no protection for consumers or workers and no need to pay formal taxes or duties.
Read the full article here.
I have been invited by my friend Professor Manoj Joshi to join the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Amity Business School (JABS). The journal is new and resembles in publishing structure our own SIU Journal of Management, the first issue of which is still due before the end of the month.
Once more specific information for JABS is available, I will post it here.
It always strikes me that the difference between fantasy fiction and fable is that the former makes some effort to conform to a meaningful form of reality, albeit one that has never existed. The latter, on the other hand, takes modern people and transplants them into another place more or less unchanged with a view to watching how they will react to a change in fortunes or circumstances. In the case of The Tree Singer, we are introduced to the world of Jacob, who is a fifteen year-old youth at the start of the story and who encounters a mysterious stranger, Simon, who comes unexpectedly out of the undergrowth.
Read the full review here.
Any book that deals with virtual reality inevitably brings to mind the work of William Gibson and, of course, Neuromancer. This has both positive and negative aspects, since it both provides a mental foundation of the nature of virtual reality and the intrusion of quasi-physical beings into that world and, also, acts as a reminder that so much of the necessary framework has already been established. Gibson posited a world of petty and not so petty criminals using stolen or created in Heath Robinson style using improvised bits and pieces from junkyards and second hand shops.
Read the full review here.
My short trip to Hong Kong to attend the Invest SEA seminar has finished and from my point of view was quite successful – I gave my paper about Chinese investment in the Mekong Region and was not booed off the stage or subjected to criticism. So that is good.
The conclusions of the workshop were many – from 11 papers (only nine of which were actually given), a wide range of points emerged in terms of the scale of investment (e.g. micro, corporate and macro), strategic (emergent or deliberative) and outcome (positive, negative, too soon to tell and so forth). My point, echoed by others, that where conflict was accompanying Chinese investment was really the effect of the spread of capitalism and the conversion of existing primitive market conditions (I use the term ‘feudal’) into more advanced capitalist relations received some support. A lot of what is going on in parallel or shadow state spaces, which are no longer governed by state governments, is a form of ‘cowboy capitalism’ or ‘wild west capitalism.’ Discussions are due to continue as to how this set of papers will, if at all, be published – I am hopeful of something quite substantial emerging but we shall see.
Anyway, I was only there for a couple of nights and, since it ws raining almost non-stop, had very little time to walk about the city for sightseeing. Anyway, this is the view of the city from my room in the Royal Plaza Hotel.
I did pop out briefly on Thursday evening across the Prince Edward East Road to look at the bird market and the flower market. Here is a photo of some budgies in a cage:
There were also some other birds hanging around, including some sea birds and a version of what we call here the Oriental Robin Magpie. So, here are some sparrers:
I also had a quick look at the flower market, by which time it was starting to rain again and so I did not really hang around. This is one view of the aforementioned flower market:
I have been appointed to the Board of Mentors at the Bimtech Center for Management Case Development in collaboration with Emerald Group Publishing Limited. More details are available here.
Incidentally, I have been much occupied with working to some tight deadlines for a number of encyclopedia articles, reviews and editing projects. I hope that after returning from Hong Kong on Saturday, the most urgent of these will be over (well, the deadlines will have passed anyway) and so I hope that what passes for normal service will return.
As part of that, I will be looking to create some of the case studies from emerging countries that forms the basis for the Bimtech project.
I’m travelling on Thursday to attend a workshop at the Southeast Asian Research Centre of the City University of Hong Kong on “Chinese Investments in Southeast Asia.’ This is the abstract of the paper I will be giving:
Cranes among Chickens: Chinese Investment in Mainland Southeast Asia
Resentment is reported to be growing in various parts of mainland Southeast Asia as Chinese capital remakes the business and physical environment. Contract workers involved with building physical infrastructure remain in Laos and Myanmar to establish their own businesses and plans for new and large-scale communities appear to threaten the societal status quo. Large-scale Chinese organizations construct large projects which will direct resources derived from outside the area directly to China, with the intervening territory simply unwanted land to be abridged as quickly as possible. As infrastructure is built, local entrepreneurial businesses are rendered redundant as new opportunities emerge for those merchants who can mobilise economies of scope and scale and who tend to arrive from another place. There are few areas in which local consumers or economic actors can feel a connection with the products of Chinese investment and so no sense of brand or organisational loyalty. Conflict is reported in Vietnam and suppression of news from northern Laos hides other potential flashpoints from view. There is an important role for the Chinese state and the organisations that help enact its policies in mainland Southeast Asia to identify potential sources of conflict and take necessary steps to ensure harmonious relations.
I’m not sure what the publishing set up will be but if anyone desperately wants a copy of the paper as it stands, then please let me know.